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to not understand why all the support and sympathy is centered on the newborn bit?

49 replies

IdaClair · 19/04/2013 23:09

I know everyone has a different experience. Of course.

It's not that I find the newborn bit easy. I've had one pretty settled newborn and one very unsettled poorly one, so I've done both sides, and every way round it's hard. So I'm not saying any bit is a walk in the park, but I generally wonder why all the support and advice seems to centre on the bit where the baby is brand new. All the 'rest when the baby does', all the 'get a cleaner for a month or two' 'take meals round' 'limit visitors and those who come have to do the washing up so you can just hold the baby' etc kind of advice is all for the brand new baby bit, where really a newborn presents very few everyday, logistical challenges compared to what comes when the baby is bigger and/or mobile?

Both mine, even unsettled, colicky newborn, have gotten more and more challenging and life more difficult, with less chance to get things done, or get rest, as they get older, not more. And they've certainly slept more as newborns than as older babies, so I was always much more rested when they were tiny. Is that just my experience? If I wanted a peaceful day and a night of sleep I would take a colicky newborn over a teething crawling drooling older baby any day! (And then probably the teething baby over the rampaging toddler Grin)

AIBU to think that if help and support is to be offered it would be nice to get it later, when things get really challenging? It's not like difficult newborns suddenly become placid roly poly babies who sleep at night and entertain themselves in the day!

OP posts:

AgentZigzag · 19/04/2013 23:16

It's because it can be a bit of a shock, however many you've got already, and it's such a definite time in a life that it's easier to mark it with an outpouring of 'advice'.

You're always going to have to look after an extremely needy person with a newborn, whereas the other stages go at different times and with their own sets of unique problems.

I would say parents with two year olds ('terrible twos') or teenagers get a similar amount of sympathy and support.


SchroSawMargeryDaw · 19/04/2013 23:18

I think it's probably more do with feeling like crap after labour and birth and be possibly trying to heal episiotomies or c-section wounds.


scarlettsmummy2 · 19/04/2013 23:18

Totally agree! I found both my newborns a walk in the park in comparison to age 1-3! It makes me laugh seeing new mums complain about being tired! This takes on a whole new level when you have two or three under four, but you just learn to run on empty!


IdaClair · 19/04/2013 23:21

I don't really want to do competitive tiredness, I don't think there's much point. It's not about which bit is harder, as such, my point is more - each bit has a totally different set of challenges and one bit is not always going to be harder than the others, but the newborn bit seems to be treated that way.

OP posts:

Cravingdairy · 19/04/2013 23:29

scarlettsmummy Lovely to think of you laughing at me while I was in hospital for four nights, after a 29 hour labour and ELCS, with a non latching baby and ferocious baby blues.

OP, what sort of support do you think would be helpful?


quoteunquote · 19/04/2013 23:30

I'll take a couple dozen colicky teething babies, twenty toddles on sugar come downs, and a couple of grumpy seven year olds, over one teen during exam season any day.


IdaClair · 19/04/2013 23:36

Same kind of thing really. It just comes from noticing that people stop asking you how you're doing, if you're getting much sleep, how feeding is going, as the baby gets older, kind of assuming it's all hunky dory rather than assuming you're up all night with a screechy baby, as they do when the child is smaller. This isn't coming from any resentment or need for support, just musings! I suspect we were spoiled, when we had newborns we were offered things like babysitting for the older child, or a meal out, occasionally someone would visit and bring food - not in a generally social way but in a 'you won't possibly have time to cook, here's your dinner' way that has only ever been done for me when I had newborns (and I was very grateful, but really I had much more time and opportunity to cook with a newborn than with an older baby or toddler!) Just things like that.

OP posts:

Southsearocks · 19/04/2013 23:39

I think Agentzigzag is right. If it's your first it is definitely a shock to the system and the round the clock feeding is knackering. Then you've got recovery from the labour, baby blues, the realisation that you will, in fact, be doing most of the care yourself... But yes, it becomes more challenging as your baby becomes a toddler. I don't know why people say things like "oh, it'll get easier".

When, exactly?



edwardsmum11 · 19/04/2013 23:41

Give me back a newborn... I have a chattering, running, climbing toddler who has a bit of an attitude.


Littlehousesomewhere · 19/04/2013 23:48

I think the specific advice about the newborn stage is meant to help the mother get over feeling poorly from labour &birth.

a good mother is meant to have her babies in routine and sleeping the ought by 6 weeks didn't you know!?

I think there is general sympathy for parents of babies to a certain degree, just if you have a 'difficult' or 'high needs baby'. But you are right you won't be getting any meals brought over (I didn't even get a single meal brought over even during the newborn phase).


IdaClair · 19/04/2013 23:49

I wish I could kind of defer all the cake and sympathy and access it when I need it across the whole parenting bit. Not just when they are brand new and cute and don't actually do anything.

To be fair my first just slotted straight into my life no problem, that was the easier one, my second not so much, but still much easier to handle when tiny than now, with opinions, and needing entertaining. The round the clock feeding hasn't changed yet either. I'm still up all hours feeding and rocking shushing, all that, but there's work to contend with too. And then the older one gets up and we have nightmares and existential angst and fallings out at school and all in all, I wish I could have the babysitters and be sent back to bed to nap in the day whilst someone else rocks the baby - that was offered back in the newborn days when all I had to do was bf and read good books.

OP posts:

CreatureRetorts · 19/04/2013 23:54

Why don't you ask for help?


JollyJumpingJelly · 19/04/2013 23:57

There's the added hormones and higher risk of feeling overwhelmed by the sudden change/PND earlier on whereas change is more gradual the rest of the time.


Littlehousesomewhere · 19/04/2013 23:57

Also I think it goes with the congratulations and celebrations of bringing a new baby into the world.

Just a tradition maybe carried over from when mothers had a period of rest and recovery while her extended family helped her out with the practicalities so she could focus on herself and her baby.


IdaClair · 20/04/2013 00:02

I didn't think about the recovering from labour bit, thankfully I've never really had anything to recover from, I've been very lucky in that the only after effect of giving birth was feeling a bit dizzy for a day or two, other than that I felt brilliant due to no longer being pregnant.

Sure I'll ask for some help if I need it, I'm not shy, just wondering why it's all centered on that very first bit.

OP posts:

Shylepite · 20/04/2013 00:39

I totally agree re older babies being much more tiring than newborns (I'm currently bf my 1yo for the 4th time tonight) but I think the pampering the new mum thing is more about recovering from giving birth and bonding with baby imo.


DoJo · 20/04/2013 00:46

I found not being able to sit down way more tiring than actually having a baby, so I'll vote for the post-labour trauma too - constantly having to stand or lie down was actually surprising exhausting and I really needed more help then than I do now with a much more demanding child but the ability to actually pick stuff up for myself should it fall below waist height.


LittleFeileFooFoo · 20/04/2013 00:50

I agree with you, OP. I also wonder why everyone is so keen to see the new baby, who will likely be sleep or eating, and not want to visit the much more engaging and fun 4 month old?

I just had my first child, and wanted family to come a little after a month or after but they all ignored my wishes and descended upon us within days.

I had had a bad labor and emergency CS, but none of them did dishes, made food or anything but sit around while DH made food and we entertained.

Now do they want to come? nope! Just ask occasionally; littlest is now talking giggling and looking around and interacting, he's so much more fun!

He is more work, because he's awake, and I'm more comfortable letting others hold and play with him (was a bit protective, but he's my first!). And I would love a break!


MarianaTrench · 20/04/2013 02:44

Definitely the post labour trauma for most people I'd say. I had a section a few days ago and I can barely walk and can't do anything useful except feed the baby. I need sympathy and to be waited on a bit.


RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief · 20/04/2013 02:56

I think it's meant to be support to give you time to get over the physical effects of the birth and time to get into your groove/ figure out your routines (I don't mean a routine for the baby, but things like, how do you have a shower with a newborn and a toddler, how do you cook dinner- I was standing in the kitchen the other day faced with the dilemma of "DD is screaming because she wants dinner, but I cant put her down to make her dinner. Shit."

After that initial stage, it's assumed that you can cope because, barring the unexpected (SN, multiples, PND etc) you planned it like that. Most people have children by choice now rather than because they just happen. That isn't to say it is'nt tough but I dont think you can expect the same degree of help as most people are very busy themselves. Sometimes I think people have this "la la la la la not listening" thing going on when other mums tell them that small gaps are very very hard work and very very tiring.

I have a friend with 2 (planned) 15 mo gaps between her children, continually complains she's exhausted and her mum should step up, and I'm afraid I have relatively little sympathy. I'm not sure how she could have expected it to be any different.


StrawberrytallCAKE · 20/04/2013 03:22

I was hormonally very up and down after giving birth, the baby blues hit and I spent most of my day either in a salt bath, cuddling the baby or having a little cry! I think that is why a lot of people need more support in the newborn phase, I'm sure even more so with cs or traumatic births.

Dd2 is now 4 months and from experience I know I need to look after myself just like everyone else does. I will still nap when the baby naps (until she finishes napping at around 3 1/2 if she's like dd1), plan easy but healthy meals and get food shopping delivered. Make sure everyone in the house is doing their share of housework and have a massage when I can, if money is tight then a hot bath with a face mask, some camomile tea and a really early night. Drink lots of water, get out in the sunshine when it's out too, very simple stuff.

Past 3 months or so people do tend to have their own lives to go back to and it wasn't their choice to have a baby so I wouldn't expect anything (apart from dh, who obviously is also 50% responsible for childcare when not working).


TiredFeet · 20/04/2013 06:47

Totally agree. The only exhausting thing about having a newborn in my (admittedly limited) experience was all the sodding visitors who would stay for hours and offer to help but not realise how exhausting it is just having loads of people in your house the whole time. And newborns don't do anything but sleep!


TheGirlOnTheLanding · 20/04/2013 07:09

To be brutally honest, I think it's mainly because people get bored. They're excited about a sweet new baby, and willing to offer tea and sympathy (to varying degrees) but after a few weeks it's old news and they're not so interested. That's my experience anyway.


frazmum · 20/04/2013 07:16

I agree with QuoteUnquote. I have this theory which is slowly being proved with my 4 DC's that, that really annoying behaviour they had as toddlers resurfaces when they are teenagers. So have had a DD who during exam time throws full on temper tantrums (she has now learnt though it is more comfortable to throw yourself on the bed instead of the floor). The next one has reverted to her stubborn 'No' ways. And no. 3 who is 11 has reverted to his not telling you when he's done something wrong. Unfortunately teenagers can't be picked up and put on the naughty step Smile.


HollyBerryBush · 20/04/2013 07:24

Newborns have novelty value, toddlers do not. That's why, people like to make conversation about newborns. If someone asked you if you were coping ok with a toddler, you'd immediately think you were somehow being slighted with your parenting skills or they had spotted a behavioural problem you hadn't noticed.

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